If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for a Vampire Diaries/Originals callback, which essentially means that this episode made me very, very happy. Although I should say that even though callbacks made this episode better, it was already standing on solid ground thanks to some great writing. I swear the dialogue on this show gets better every week.
We kick things off at Triad where Agent Clarke has a bag over someone’s head. All we know is that whoever is under the hood is being sent to the Salvatore School to do some work for the big, bad company. More on that later.
Back at school, Landon’s attempt to wake Hope up from a nightmare results in her sleep-throwing him across the room. When she asks if he’s okay, he says, “I was recently dead so I think I’ll mend,” which is precisely why I love Landon. But that doesn’t mean he’s not worried. He goes to Ric about Hope, and when Ric checks in on her, she ends up accidentally throwing Ric across the room in anger. One thing is certain: She needs to blow off some steam.
Although she can’t exactly wolf out today because there are mortals coming to the school. Why? Because the Salvatore School is hosting this year’s Miss Mystic Falls!!! For those who aren’t familiar, it’s the local beauty pageant that was first introduced in season 1 of The Vampire Diaries. Furthermore, it’s the beauty pageant that Caroline Forbes — a.k.a. Josie and Lizzie’s mother — won. It’s also where Elena Gilbert and Damon Salvatore had their first dance together. Trust me, it’s a THING.
So while the students start prepping for the pageant and maintaining their image as being nothing more than a private school for the “rich and awful,” as Ric puts it, Landon tries once again to talk to Hope. He’s worried that she’s getting cold feet about their relationship. “I’m indestructible, you’re relatively indestructible,” he tells her. And now, they finally have a long road ahead of them without obstacles. Unless, of course, you consider Hope’s ex-boyfriend an obstacle.
Enter Roman, the guy who stole Hope’s heart on The Originals before his mother killed her mother. Sounds complicated, right? It is. Apparently Roman has been doing some recruiting work for Alaric, who recently asked Roman to come lend a hand. Precious Landon takes the opportunity to introduce himself as Hope’s boyfriend “and a phoenix, by the way, which is … so cool.” He’s not wrong. But he is having trouble wrapping his head around the idea that Hope no longer holds Roman responsible for her mom’s death.
But Roman isn’t the only surprise guest at the school. MG’s mom stops by after getting the news that her son is now a murderer, and she tries to convince him to find a new school. (Apparently there are some great schools for the supernatural overseas, and MG’s mom looks like the kind of parent who’d be willing to buy his test scores if you know what I mean.) But MG doesn’t want to go, especially not after he meets Nia, a comic book-loving teen who’s here for the pageant.
Speaking of the pageant, Lizzie’s big plan to follow in her mother’s footsteps and be crowned Miss Mystic Falls — no one from the Salvatore School ever has — is ruined when the head judge turns out to be Dana’s mom. It seems Dana properly trashed Lizzie before she died, so Lizzie starts crunching numbers and decides that Hope should be her replacement, something that doesn’t sit well with Josie, though she’d never admit it.
Lizzie wastes no time in getting Hope up to speed, even giving her the dress she was going to wear. It belonged to her mother, but as TVD fans know, there’s more to that story: Klaus, otherwise known as Hope’s father, gifted Caroline that dress in season 3 of The Vampire Diaries as part of an invitation to a ball that the Original family was throwing. It marked a major moment for Klaroline shippers.
But that’s only one of many TVD references. When Hope and Josie both attend the pageant rehearsal, they learn the dance and are told things like “flirt with your eyes,” the same words that Carol Lockwood once told Stefan and Elena. Speaking of Stefan and Elena, there’s a moment where Penelope — who has forced her way in as Josie’s escort — stops Josie from tripping on purpose and dips her that looks a lot like a playful Stefan-Elena dip during their rehearsal.
As they’re told about the “simple intimacy of the near-touch,” Penelope tries to convince Josie not to throw the pageant to help Hope/Lizzie. But Josie’s nothing if not a devoted sister. Across the dance floor, Landon gets Hope all worked up when he starts asking how she can forgive Roman for having a part in her mother’s death when it took her so long to forgive him for stealing a knife. When it’s evident that Hope is about to explode, Lizzie grabs her and takes her into the woods where she can scream and explode in a less dangerous way.
Landon is quick to apologize … until they find that MG’s mother has been turned to stone. Instantly, Landon thinks Roman did it. But when Landon confronts Roman, he gets the answer to his real question: Yes, Roman still has feelings for Hope. But he says Hope would never get back with him. Roman knows Landon doesn’t trust him, but he tells him that he should trust Hope. (Next: Triad makes a big move against Landon)